AC vent covers may not be the most critical part in an HVAC system, but they are probably the most visible. These are the louvered components that cover the HVAC supply-duct outlets that deliver conditioned air into a room as well as the return vents that convey air back to the central air handler.
Which Vent Is Where?
In most homes, supply AC vent covers are located either on the floor, outer walls, under windows, or in the ceiling in each room, while the return vent is usually down near the floor or, in some cases, installed in the floor. The supply vent cover incorporates adjustable louvers that control the volume of conditioned air entering the room, as well as directing the flow of air. In some cases, a single return vent serves multiple rooms and is installed in a central location such as a hallway.
Is It Time for New AC Vent Covers?
Vent covers are easily removable and, because the sizes are typically standardized, may be replaced with new covers readily available from home improvement stores and other outlets. Here are some scenarios where vent replacement is desirable.
- Vents can’t be adjusted. Over time, the moving louvers of supply vents may become permanently stuck and airflow volume and direction is no longer adjustable.
- Vents are damaged. This is more common with return vents near the floor. Damage may occur from common activities such as moving furniture around or vacuuming that bend or distort the vent grille and impede the free flow of air.
- Vents are very obstructed. Vent covers that aren’t regularly maintained (removal and cleaning every other year is recommended) may eventually become permanently clogged with dirt and dust accumulating inside the duct. Replacing the old vent cover — and cleaning out the duct opening — may be the best option to restore airflow and protect indoor air quality.
- Vents are ugly. Original vent covers installed at the time of the original construction are generally designed for function, not aesthetics. A variety of replacement vents are available that may blend more tastefully into indoor decor.
For more advice about replacing AC vent covers, talk to the pros at Jackson & Sons.